• Short Summary

    Rotterdam's Europort has been described as the Tradesmen's entrance to Europe, and certainly it is the world's biggest container terminal.

  • Description

    Rotterdam's Europort has been described as the Tradesmen's entrance to Europe, and certainly it is the world's biggest container terminal.

    The port is still growing, but at a much reduced speed. There are several reasons for the slowdown, not the least being the local people's horror of pollution.

    Smog is a real problem in the area because many of the world's biggest oil companies, as well as other industries, operate on port land. The Dutch Government lays down the most stringent regulations to control pollution, and the oil companies are having a good measure of success in meeting them... but there is now a question of whether new industries are prepared to meet the costs involved when 50 miles to the south the restrictions are far less.

    However, Rotterdam is so well geared up to handle oil...probably through pipelines to the rest of Europe...that her future as an oil trans-shipping base is assured. In addition, customs men in the area go out of their way to simplify the problems normally associated with their business.

    The port authorities, too, are trying to guarantee future trade by replacing manpower with massive equipment which can handle containers and complete barges to speed the flow of goods.

    World trading concerns moreover, are making increasing use of Rotterdam as a place to build and store new products for immediate distribution in and out of Europe.

    SYNOPSIS: With the European Community gaining three new members on January the first, the Port of Rotterdam will more than ever justify it's unofficial title of the Tradesmen's entrance to Europe; it's certainly the world's largest container terminal.

    The Dutch can justifiably claim the title "freighters of Europe". Almost half the European community's inland waterways are in their hands, and they control a third of the trucks driving across Europe. These activities mean a massive gain for Holland in invisible trade..... equal to the national contributions from agriculture, engineering or petrol refining.

    But to talk of Rotterdam's Europort is to talk of oil... While all manner of freight is handled there, it is oil that keeps the port authority's massive financial wheals turning. And the authority is going to need all the push it can give, for Europort's growth rate is declining -- partly because the Netherlands has the highest rate of inflation in Western Europe, and partly because there are many local groups who oppose any plans for the port's expansion.

    The fear of pollution is ever present, too, although oil companies have had considerable success is keeping it down. Even so, many companies are building at Antwerp, fifty miles away, where anti-pollution laws are much less stringent.

    Rotterdam is accustomed to adversity... in 1945 almost half the port lay in ruins... but it took only five years to repair the damage and forge ahead with new work. The projects were undertaken with one thought in mind... "the quay must wait for the ships... never the other way round."
    The private organisations which run the port are meeting some of the challenge by changing form a general use of manpower to the massive use of equipment and computers. Containers of course are everywhere as are the mighty cranes which make light of them. Eventually perhaps Rotterdam will be a place where gods change their mode of transport without a hand laid on them and this is bound to speed the flow of goods from producer to consumer.

    The office worker too are doing their share of helping the city retain its income... customs men there have taken great strides in simplifying the paperwork and problems which are an integral part of their duties.

    Last year Rotterdam handled four hundred and thirty two million tons of goods ... and almost half of that was just passing through... now the accent is swinging to pipelines which will move the incoming oil to other parte of Europe, and to attracting major international companies to the area where they can build assembly plants and storage facilities. This would allow the immediate distribution of goods throughout the entire Common Market.

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    Reuters - Including Visnews
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